By Tom Balog/At the Frozen Four
The fairy tale ended for the RIT Tigers on Thursday evening as they were taken apart by the Wisconsin Badgers, 8-1, in the first semifinal game at the Frozen Four in Detroit.
"Wisconsin was just a powerhouse tonight," said Tigers coach Wayne Wilson. "Physically, I thought they were stronger and quicker and they really negated anything we tried to generate."
New York Rangers draft pick Derek Stepan led the Badgers with a pair of goals and two assists.
The Badgers will move on to play for their seventh NCAA title, but they know they still have work to do.
"We gotta continue to play hard and smart," said Stepan. "We gotta get ourselves ready and focused to play one more. We've had a good balance so far and we have to make sure we don't get too confident or down on ourselves."
The Badgers opened up a healthy 6-0 lead, before RIT’s Tyler Brenner slammed in a power-play goal at 19:32 of the second period.
John Mitchell, Jordy Murray, Justin Schultz, Michael Davies, Blake Geofferion and Craig Smith scored for UW (28-10-4).
Red Wings draft pick Brendan Smith also helped out with five assists from the blue line.
In net, Scott Gudmandson was only forced to stop 13 shots for Wisconsin in the win.
"I think that’s one of the toughest jobs a goaltender has is to stay focused," said Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves. "Scotty did a nice job tonight. He was disappointed in giving up one goal, but he kept his mind sharp and did a pretty decent job for us."
Jared DeMichiel saw just a little bit more action on the other end, turning aside 27 shots. Jan Ropponen and Shane Madolora also saw some mop-up duty for RIT.
The Tigers finish their season at 28-12-1 and capped the run with their first trip to the NCAA tournament.
The Badgers will now move on to face the winner of the second semifinal between the CCHA’s Miami RedHawks and the Hockey East’s Boston College Eagles.